These discussions, which will include trade in services, have the potential to transform the continent’s economic profile. With regards to trade in goods, the intention is to free all regional trade within a three-year period. In services, however, early indications are that the ‘no risk, no benefit’ stance of SADC and COMESA has prevailed over the more ambitious approach of the EAC. Although the draft text on trade in services is laced with loopholes, it is encouraging that a separate annex on the movement of business persons has been crafted and negotiations on this will be front-loaded. Meaningful progress in this area would bring real economic benefits to the participants, and may also signal a shift in the region’s attitude to services trade.